Tip #999:  How to Handle an Uncooperative Participant

He just sat there, with his hands crossed in front of him on the table. He didn’t open his workbook or chat with the other participants at his table.

And he was wrecking my credibility and control of the group. All the other participants were busily working on a group activity. But they were also watching how I would handle the situation.

Well, I couldn’t let him just sit there. That was non-negotiable. I had to get him out of the room. So, I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him to follow me.

When we got outside the classroom, I think he expected me to scold him, as if he was a little boy. I’m sure he was prepared to defend himself. I didn’t give him that chance.

What I said instead, “I see that you’re not participating in the training activities. That is certainly your option. But it creates a problem for me.  The other participants will think that I’m a weak trainer and I’ll lose credibility. I need your help. If you don’t want to participate, I’d like you to feel free to leave.”

He blinked in surprise. He told me that he had traveled with another participant, so he couldn’t leave. And he had already had a similar training.

In response, I mentioned that we were within close walking distance of a shopping mall. He could go there. He said that he wasn’t interested.

Then he surprised me. He asked, “Would it be all right if I came back into the room and participated?”

Thrilled, I thanked him for helping me out.

We both returned to the classroom and, good as his word, he actively participated for the rest of the class.

The moral of this tale: Treating initially uncooperative participants with respect and asking for their help can sometimes resolve a difficult situation.

Have you ever had to deal with a similar situation?

May your learning be sweet.


#difficultparticipants #training #laurelandassociatesltd

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